Western US in grips of hottest, driest summer in 1000 years? | DW News

DW News – Jun 21, 2021

It may be the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but for some 50 million people in the US summer has arrived early and hotter than ever before. In just the last week, high temperature records have been shattered all across the western half of the US. Salt Lake City, Utah, just saw its hottest day since record keeping began in 1870. 107 degrees Fahrenheit. 42 degrees Celsius. Wyoming also saw new records. In Nevada, Las Vegas continues to flirt with its all-time high of 47 degrees Celsius. But the US city melting most is Phoenix, Arizona, which just set an all-time record of five consecutive days of 115 degrees or higher. That is 46 degrees Celsius. The heat is making severe droughts across the western US go from bad to worse. The federal government is already planning to declare an official water shortage at Lake Mead in August. Lake Mead’s waters power Hoover Dam. As of last week, Lake Mead’s water level is at a record low, and there is n .relief in sight. The Western US is in what scientists describe as a climate-change induced megadrought. Some even say this summer could be the hottest and driest in a millennium. And less water means more fire. 2020 saw a record number of wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington. 2021 is expected to be worse.

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